Comparing Carbon Performances of Mobility Services and Private Vehicles from a Life Cycle Perspective

  • Mara NeefEmail author
  • Tina Dettmer
  • Liselotte Schebek
Part of the Sustainable Production, Life Cycle Engineering and Management book series (SPLCEM)


Mobility services are predicted to replace private passenger vehicles to sizeable shares in the short- and middle-term. Although the carbon saving potential of mobility services compared to private vehicles is widely acknowledged, empirical studies are lacking and research designs remain unreplicated. In order to determine common characteristics of studies comparing life cycle carbon emissions of mobility services and passenger vehicles, we conducted a standardized literature review. We showed that current Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)-based approaches in the research field mostly apply two methodological characteristics: (1) person-km (p-km) are used as reference unit to compare carbon performances across transport modes and (2) scenario-analyses are used to deal with the poor data basis and disruptive character of mobility services. Most studies focus on comparing conventionally-powered car sharing vehicles to passenger cars within a one year timeframe in urban areas. Mobility services like ride hailing and pooling as well as alternative power trains remain largely neglected. Policy-makers and customers were found to be the main addressees of case studies. The private sector is least addressed thus showing the need for future research on a mix of mobility services and private vehicles with different power trains on fleet level.


LCA CO2 PSS Mobility services 


  1. 1.
    European Commission (2018) Reducing CO2 emissions from passenger cars. Accessed 20 Jul 2018
  2. 2.
    Nijland H, van Meerkerk J (2017) Mobility and environmental impacts of car sharing in the Netherlands. Environ Innov Soc Transitions 23:84–91. Scholar
  3. 3.
    Namazu M, Dowlatabadi H (2015) Characterizing the GHG emission impacts of carsharing: a case of Vancouver. Environ Res Lett 10:124017. Scholar
  4. 4.
    Nurhadi L, Borén S, Ny H, Larsson T (2017) Competitiveness and sustainability effects of cars and their business models in Swedish small town regions. J Clean Prod 140:333–348. Scholar
  5. 5.
    Firnkorn J, Shaheen S (2016) Generic time- and method-interdependencies of empirical impact-measurements: A generalizable model of adaptation-processes of carsharing-users’ mobility-behavior over time. J Clean Prod 113:897–909. Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kuhnert F, Rosa MA, Stürmer C (2018) Five trends transforming the automotive industry. Accessed 20 Mar 2018
  7. 7.
    ISO (2006) ISO 14040: Environmental Management—Life Cycle Assessment—Principles and Framework. European Standard. ISO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    International Standardization Organization (2006) ISO 14044: Environmental Management—Life Cycle Assessment—Requirements and Guidelines. European Standard. ISO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kjaer LL, Pagoropoulos A, Schmidt JH, McAloone TC (2016) Challenges when evaluating product/service-systems through life cycle assessment. J Clean Prod 120:95–104. Scholar
  10. 10.
    Tukker A, Tischner U (2006) Product-services as a research field: past, present and future. Reflections from a decade of research. J Clean Prod 14:1552–1556. Scholar
  11. 11.
    Tukker A (2004) Eight types of product-service system: Eight ways to sustainability? Experiences from suspronet. Bus Strateg Environ 13:246–260. Scholar
  12. 12.
    International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) (2018) Definitions. Accessed 20 Jul 2018
  13. 13.
    Umweltbundesamt (UBA) (2017) Car-Sharing nutzen. Accessed 20 Jul 2018
  14. 14.
    Hensher DA (2017) Future bus transport contracts under a mobility as a service (MaaS) regime in the digital age: are they likely to change? Transp Res Part A Policy Pract 98:86–96. Scholar
  15. 15.
    Martin E, Shaheen SA (2011) Greenhouse gas emissions impacts of carsharing in North America. Trans Intell Transp Syst 12:1–114. Scholar
  16. 16.
    Firnkorn J, Müller M (2011) What will be the environmental effects of new free-floating car-sharing systems? The case of car2go in Ulm. Ecol Econ 70:1519–1528. Scholar
  17. 17.
    MOIA (2018) Words for a new world. Accessed 19 Mar 2018
  18. 18.
  19. 19.
    Daimler (2018) Mobility services—mytaxi. Accessed 19 Mar 2018
  20. 20.
    Daimler (2018) Mobility services—Car2Go. Accessed 19 Mar 2018
  21. 21.
    BMW (2018) Mobility Services & Carsharing. Accessed 19 Mar 2018
  22. 22.
    Firnkorn J, Müller M (2012) Selling mobility instead of cars: new business strategies of automakers and the impact on private vehicle holding. Bus Strateg Environ 21:264–280. Scholar
  23. 23.
    Littell JH, Corcoran J, Pillai V (2008) Systematic reviews and meta-analysis. Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Tranfield D, Denyer D, Smart P (2003) Towards a methodology for developing evidence-informed management knowledge by means of systematic review* Introduction: the need for an evidence-informed approach. Br J Manag 14:207–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Fink A (2010) Conducting research literature reviews : from the Internet to paper. SAGEGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Stechemesser K, Guenther E (2012) Carbon accounting: a systematic literature review. J Clean Prod 36:17–38. Scholar
  27. 27.
    EU-JRC (2010) International reference life cycle data system (ILCD) Handbook—General guide for life cycle assessmentGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Font Vivanco D, van der Voet E (2014) The rebound effect through industrial ecology’s eyes: a review of LCA-based studies. Int J Life Cycle Assess 19:1933–1947. Scholar
  29. 29.
    Weidema BP, Ekvall T, Heijungs R (2009) Guidelines for application of deepened and broadened LCA. Deliverable D18 of work package 5 of the CALCAS projectGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Greening LA, Greene DL, Difiglio C (2000) Energy efficiency and consumption— the rebound effect—a survey. Energy Policy 28:389–401. Scholar
  31. 31.
    Danilecki K, Mrozik M, Smurawski P (2017) Changes in the environmental profile of a popular passenger car over the last 30 years—results of a simplified LCA study. J Clean Prod 141. Scholar
  32. 32.
    Randolph JJ (2009) A guide to writing the dissertation literature review. Pract Assess Res Eval 14:13Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J et al (2009) Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: The PRISMA statement. PLoS Med 6:e1000097. Scholar
  34. 34.
    Briceno T, Peters G, Solli C, Hertwich E (2005) Using life cycle approaches to evaluate sustainable consumption programs. Car Sharing, TrondheimGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Fagnant DJ, Kockelman KM (2014) The travel and environmental implications of shared autonomous vehicles, using agent-based model scenarios. Transp Res Part C Emerg Technol 40:1–13. Scholar
  36. 36.
    Retamal M (2017) Product-service systems in Southeast Asia: Business practices and factors influencing environmental sustainability. J Clean Prod 143:894–903. Scholar
  37. 37.
    Chen TD, Kockelman KM (2016) Carsharing’s life-cycle impacts on energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Transp Res Part D Transp Environ 47:276–284. Scholar
  38. 38.
    Mitropoulos L, Prevedouros P (2014) Multicriterion sustainability assessment in transportation. Transp Res Rec J Transp Res Board 2403:52–61. Scholar
  39. 39.
    Baptista P, Melo S, Rolim C (2014) Energy, environmental and mobility impacts of car-sharing systems. Empirical results from Lisbon Portugal. ProcediaSoc Behav Sci 111:28–37. Scholar
  40. 40.
    European Environment Agency (2008) Occupancy rates of passenger vehicles. Accessed 21 Jul 2018
  41. 41.
    Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Ernergy (2010) Fact #613: March 8, 2010 Vehicle Occupancy Rates. Accessed 21 Jul 2018
  42. 42.
    Volkswagen AG (2017) Volkswagen sustainability report 2016—Facts and Figures—Environmental Indicators. Accessed 13 Mar 2018
  43. 43.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Technical University of Darmstadt, Institute IWARDarmstadtGermany
  2. 2.Volkswagen Group Environmental ResearchWolfsburgGermany

Personalised recommendations